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Title: Music training is neuroprotective for verbal cognition in focal epilepsy.
Austin Authors: Bird, Laura J;Jackson, Graeme D ;Wilson, Sarah J
Affiliation: Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Grattan Street, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Grattan Street, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date: 1-Jul-2019
Publication information: Brain : a journal of neurology 2019; 142(7): 1973-1987
Abstract: Focal epilepsy is a unilateral brain network disorder, providing an ideal neuropathological model with which to study the effects of focal neural disruption on a range of cognitive processes. While language and memory functions have been extensively investigated in focal epilepsy, music cognition has received less attention, particularly in patients with music training or expertise. This represents a critical gap in the literature. A better understanding of the effects of epilepsy on music cognition may provide greater insight into the mechanisms behind disease- and training-related neuroplasticity, which may have implications for clinical practice. In this cross-sectional study, we comprehensively profiled music and non-music cognition in 107 participants; musicians with focal epilepsy (n = 35), non-musicians with focal epilepsy (n = 39), and healthy control musicians and non-musicians (n = 33). Parametric group comparisons revealed a specific impairment in verbal cognition in non-musicians with epilepsy but not musicians with epilepsy, compared to healthy musicians and non-musicians (P = 0.029). This suggests a possible neuroprotective effect of music training against the cognitive sequelae of focal epilepsy, and implicates potential training-related cognitive transfer that may be underpinned by enhancement of auditory processes primarily supported by temporo-frontal networks. Furthermore, our results showed that musicians with an earlier age of onset of music training performed better on a composite score of melodic learning and memory compared to non-musicians (P = 0.037), while late-onset musicians did not differ from non-musicians. For most composite scores of music cognition, although no significant group differences were observed, a similar trend was apparent. We discuss these key findings in the context of a proposed model of three interacting dimensions (disease status, music expertise, and cognitive domain), and their implications for clinical practice, music education, and music neuroscience research.
DOI: 10.1093/brain/awz124
ORCID: 0000-0002-7917-5326
PubMed URL: 31074775
Type: Journal Article
Subjects: epilepsy
music perception
music training
verbal cognition
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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